Few teams have sold as much potential talent as the Dodgers in recent years.
But when Major League Baseball announced the rosters for this month’s Futures game at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, only one other club could match its three representatives.
Triple-A infielder Miguel Vargas, double-A pitcher Bobby Miller and high-A catcher Diego Cartaya have all been selected for the game, which will be part of the All-Star Week celebrations at Chavez Ravine.
The New York Yankees were the only other team to have three players selected.
“It’s great every time players have the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and get onto a major league field, especially Dodger Stadium,” said Will Rhymes, the Dodgers’ director of player staff. “We didn’t choose these players. They were selected by MLB. And I think that everyone acknowledging how talented and how special these players are is really meaningful.”
Vargas is a player Dodger fans may soon see in the club’s big league.
Despite being only 22, he is ranked No. 5 overall on the team according to MLB Pipeline and has flourished in his freshman year with Triple A Oklahoma City by hitting .292 with 13 homers, 59 RBIs and .878 OPS.
“A lot of guys that we sent there had some initial problems, even some really good racquets,” Rhymes said. “So it was amazing how he hit the ground running.”
Rhymes said Vargas has also improved defensively, both at his main pitch at third base and in outfield, where he recently played a handful of games for the first time in his pro career.
“He’s just growing into the whole package,” Rhymes said.
It was also noticed by others in the organization.
Dodgers veteran Jake Lamb said he and Vargas became close during Lamb’s time in Oklahoma City that year, despite the nine-year age difference between the two.
“He’s an elite elite Racket who can just hit damn well, but I just love the way he approaches the game,” Lamb said. “Obviously he’s got a few things to learn here or there as he gets into the big leagues, but he’s having so much fun just playing baseball.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he’s been following Vargas’ performance daily since the prospect’s impressive display in the big league camp this spring.
“Miggy will be here quickly,” Roberts said. “There’s a lot to like. Lots of good ingredients.”
How quickly Vargas will reach the majors remains to be seen. While there was speculation over the past month of a possible call-up while Mookie Betts was out injured, the Dodgers ultimately opted to trade in Trayce Thompson for an experienced right-hander instead.
The other times they’ve needed minor league backup this year, the Dodgers have gone for more experienced options like Lamb, Eddy Alvarez, Kevin Pillar and Zach McKinstry.
Still, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Vargas’ Futures Game appearance wasn’t his only visit to Dodger Stadium this year.
“It’s all coming at the right time,” Rhymes said. “I think ideally, you hope…we can really let him develop on his own timeline. So we’ll just see what the options are and if he can help. But I think there’s little doubt that he’s a special hitter and can help pretty much any line-up in any league right now. So we’ll just have to see how the rest of the summer unfolds.”
Cartaya may be one of the few hitters in the Dodgers system to have had an even better season on the plate so far.
Cartaya, a 20-year-old catcher widely considered the team’s best overall prospect, has already earned a promotion from Single A Rancho Cucamonga to High A Great Lakes, hitting a combined .283 with 14 homers, 48 RBIs and a .987 OPS between the two subsidiaries.
“We’re thrilled with Diego,” Rhymes said, noting that several of Cartaya’s advanced stats, including the all-encompassing wRC+ metric, rank him “as the top hitter in our organization.”
Equally impressive, Cartaya has already played 56 games – nearly double what he did last year in Singles A while struggling with back and hamstring injuries.
Cartaya even asked to increase his workload from four games a week to five earlier this season.
“He really took off,” Rhymes said. “So much of the leadership, the toughness, that bodes well for him in his career.”
Miller, 23, is the club’s top pitcher. A former first-round pick with a three-figure fastball, he has started 14 games for Double A Tulsa this year and has a 4.45 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-07-07/dodgers-prospect-miguel-vargas-mlb-futures-game Dodgers prospect Miguel Vargas selected for Futures Game